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Etrigan
Blodemon 1.jpg
Artwork for the cover of Blood of the Demon 1 (May, 2005). Art by John Byrne.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance The Demon #1 (August 1972)
Created by Jack Kirby
In-story information
Alter ego Etrigan
Species Demon
Place of origin Hell
Team affiliations Justice League
Partnerships Jason Blood
Notable aliases The Demon, Iason Blood, Jason Blood
Abilities Superhuman physical attributes,
Extrasensory powers,
Regenerative healing factor,
Expert in maleficium,
Precognition,
Telepathy,
Can project flames of mystical hellfire

The Demon is a DC Comics superhero series created by prolific comic book writer-artist Jack Kirby.

The title character, named Etrigan, is an actual demon from Hell who, despite his violent tendencies, usually finds himself allied to the forces of good, mainly because of the alliance between the heroic characters of the DC Universe and Jason Blood, a human to whom Etrigan is bound.[1] Etrigan resembles a squat, muscular humanoid creature with orange (or yellow) skin, horns, red eyes, and ears resembling bat wings. Blood is a tall, thin, suave man with dark red hair and a lined face.

Etrigan was inspired by a comic strip of Prince Valiant in which the title character dressed as a demon. Kirby gave his creation the same appearance as Valiant's mask.[2]

Contents

Publication history

Jack Kirby created The Demon in 1972 when his Fourth World titles were canceled.

While his first monthly comic book series was short-lived, and his second was canceled after five years, Etrigan remains a popular supporting character with occasional additional mini-series. Popular series in which Etrigan has appeared include Neil Gaiman's The Sandman (see Characters of The Sandman - Minor Angels and Demons), Alan Moore's Swamp Thing, Kevin Smith's Green Arrow and Batman: The Widening Gyre, and Cosmic Odyssey by Jim Starlin and Mike Mignola.

  • The Demon, 16 issues, 1972-74
  • Brave & the Bold, 109, 1973 "Gotham Bay Be My Grave" (with Batman)
  • The Demon, in Detective Comics #482-485, 1979
  • The Demon, 4 issue mini-series, 1987
  • The Demon, in Action Comics Weekly #636-641, 1989
  • The Demon, 59 issues + 2 Annuals, 1990-1995
  • The Demon: Driven Out, 6 issue mini-series, 2003/2004
  • Blood of the Demon, 17 issues, 2005-2006

Fictional character biography

Etrigan, son of the demon Belial, was originally summoned by the wizard Merlin as part of a last-ditch defense of Camelot against the evil witch, Morgaine le Fay. When it became clear that the kingdom would fall regardless, Merlin sent the demon away and changed him into a human named Jason Blood to wait until he was summoned. One account retconned this, so that Blood was now an actual human, bonded involuntarily to the demon as his punishment for aiding Morgaine le Fay in overthrowing Camelot. The latest series co-written and penciled by John Byrne states that the Demon is a monster possessed with the soul of a human, that being Jason Blood, who existed only to bring out his true demon self when absolutely necessary.[1]

Centuries later, Jason was called to the crypt of Merlin and discovered a poem that could change him into Etrigan. Unfortunately, he was followed by the long-lived Morgaine who lusts for Merlin's secrets. That led to Etrigan's first major battle, and to the solidification of Morgaine as a major enemy. In addition, he later gained another enemy in Klarion the Witch Boy, a permanently prepubescent mage who creates trouble with his magic.

Some time after his first appearance, Etrigan began speaking entirely in rhyme (the quality of which varied considerably depending on who was writing him at the time). This was explained in Alan Moore's run on Swamp Thing as the result of a promotion, with the rhyming speech being a badge of his new rank in the infernal hierarchy. Len Wein introduced this new feature of Etrigan's dialogue in DC Comics Presents #66, with simple rhymed couplets, but Moore's use of more complex and eloquent rhyme and meter established it firmly as the character's trademark.[1]

However, he is not strictly limited to rhyme, as evidenced in the miniseries, I Can't Believe it's Not the Justice League. Although the degree to which this series is canonical is questionable, Blue Devil, a fellow rhyming class demon, is later shown to be able to avoid rhyming but only through considerable effort.

The poem that releases Etrigan is:

Yarva Demonicus Etrigan.
Change, change the form of man.
Free the prince forever damned.
Free the might from fleshy mire.
Boil the blood in heart of fire.
Gone, gone the form of man,
Rise the demon Etrigan!

Jason Blood's first transformation into the Demon occurs when reading the inscription on the surface of a stone tomb:

Change! Change, O form of man!
Release the might from fleshy mire!
Boil the blood in heart of fire!
Gone! Gone! -- the form of man --
Rise, the Demon Etrigan!!"

(Demon no. 1 August/September 1972 p. 22)

Generally, only the last two lines are actively recited, and the words have been known to vary slightly; the phrase "yarva daemonicus etrigan" has occasionally been used, but not consistently.

The reverse spell has several different wordings, all with the basic form "Gone, gone, O Etrigan! / Resume once more the form of man!" Alternate words include "Begone, begone, O Etrigan!" and "Rise again... (or once more); virtually every combination has been used at one time or another. The spell itself does not need to be recited by Jason or Etrigan to be effective, merely within their range of hearing. In emergencies when Jason cannot speak (for instance, when he was turned into a fly), writing it is sometimes sufficient to effect the change. On one occasion, Blood released Etrigan by using a parody of the spell ("Gone, O little man so tame / and rise the demon Whatshisname").

Etrigan attempts to use Lucifer's trident to take control of Hell. A makeshift Shadowpact team successfully takes the Trident from him and flees to the supernatural 'Oblivion Bar'. Etrigan follows and battles the team inside the bar. He is turned into stone via magical pistols and is used as a hatrack. The pistol's magic would return Etrigan to normal at sunrise, which never happens within the bar.[3]

Black Alice is able to access Etrigan's powers in the Dark Side Club when she is drugged to only be able to steal magic from inside the building.[4]

Etrigan took part in the war for control of hell fighting on behalf of Neron, duelling Blue Devil in the Labyrinth area of Hell. Later, due to the effects of a magical drug Satanus had infested Hell with, he was transformed into a physical human, a perfect duplicate of Jason Blood. Blood, meanwhile, has taken steps as to interfere with any possible attempts of Etrigan's to re-merge.

One drawing of Etrigan is seen in Final Crisis #5. It is paired with a drawing of Doctor Fate.

During the Blackest Night: Batman miniseries, Jason Blood's body is taken over by Deadman, who invokes Etrigan's transformation, using his flames to hold back the Black Lanterns (Etrigan's lack of a heart rendering him immune to their attacks).

Powers and abilities

Etrigan

Even among demons, Etrigan is considered to be extremely powerful. He has above superhuman strength (mystically enhanced) to the degree that he can stand against other powerhouses like Superman, Wonder Woman, and Lobo. He has a high degree of resistance to injury and can project hellfire from his body; usually from his mouth. He has a very high command of magic: other powers include mystically enhanced fangs and claws, enhanced senses, super speed, agility, telepathy, energy blasts and precognition. His sadomasochistic nature allows him to enjoy pain as if it were pleasure, making him generally fearless in the face of combat and torture. His healing factor can handle an incredible amount of damage, allowing him to recover from wounds that have removed large sections of his body.

As seen in "Batman: the Brave and the Bold," it appears that he also has some matter manipulation power on a molecular level. His powers can be extended by other magical devices, such as the Crown of Horns. Etrigan is also provided with insight to religious aspects and other forbidden or secret knowledge.

Jason Blood

Jason Blood is a highly skilled hand-to-hand combatant. His skills include mastery in swordmanship. Jason is also an adept of magic, and is often called upon to act as an advisor or investigator in occult matters (such as in the series Arkham Asylum: Living Hell). He also has limited precognition and telepathy.

Limitations

Etrigan has all the limitations usually associated with a demon, including a weakness towards Holy powers and iron. Additionally, when Green Arrow once shot a "fire extinguisher arrow" into his mouth, Batman told Etrigan that the only way to stop the pain was to change back to Jason Blood.

His command of magic is strong but considered to be less than his father, Belial, and half-brother, Merlin the Magician. Additionally, Belial granted "power of Etrigan" to both Merlin and another son, Scapegoat.

Blood of the Demon

The series Blood of the Demon, plotted and drawn by John Byrne, scripted by Will Pfeifer, began in May 2005. Etrigan apparently loses the restrictions imposed upon him by the wizard Merlin which turned him from evil, caused by his "murder" at the exact moment he was transforming from his human guise Jason Blood into his demon self. It turns out that the incident has resulted in Jason Blood being able to exert some will over Etrigan's violent nature, whereas previously the two remained separate, only one existing at a time.

Etrigan's last book was the monthly Blood of the Demon, which ended with issue #17 in July 2006.

Other versions

  • In issue #28 of the Super Friends comics, Etrigan made an appearance as one of the 5 foes that the Super Friends battle.

In the continuity of the DC animated universe, Etrigan first appeared in The Batman Adventures Annual #2, where he teamed up with Batman to fight against Ra's al Ghul[5]. Jason Blood/Etrigan were also introduced and fought along side Batman to stop Klarion from obtaining a magical artifact in the episode "The Demon Within". Due to his immortality and friendship with Bruce Wayne, Jason Blood/Etrigan was able to team up with the future Batman in several issues of the Batman Beyond comic series, although he never appeared in the actual show. He was featured in "Magic is Everywhere!" (Batman Beyond miniseries # 4 of 6, July 1999) and "Many Flights of Demons Sing Thee To Thy Rest" (Batman Beyond #14, December 2000).

In Justice League Europe Annual #2, a time-lost Dimitri Pushkin ends up in the court of Camelot. He becomes a favorite of King Arthur, partly due to the futuristic capabilities of his armor. Filled with jealousy, Merlin summons Etrigan, who slays Dimitri with hellfire. This alternate-past is neutralized by the efforts of Waverider.

In the Speed Demon one-shot, the second Speed Demon (Blaze Allen) is an amalgamation of the second Flash, the second Ghost Rider and Etrigan (Speed Demon even refers to himself as Etrigan).

Etrigan was shown back in Hell in Vertigo's Sandman series, acting as guide to the Dream King as he entered to face down another demon for his lost helmet. All of his words rhymed.

Etrigan appears on the 50th and final issue of The Batman Strikes!, which is based on the universe of the animated series The Batman.[6] Etrigan asks Batman and Robin to help him find an ancient artifact stolen by The Riddler. However, he and Riddler are manipulated by the vengeful Demons Three into releasing them from the artifact, and attempt to possess Etrigan. Batman and Robin stop them, and returned the artifact to Etrigan. His dialogue in the issue rhymes.

Etrigan is featured as a prominent character in several story arcs of Hitman by Garth Ennis, aiding the protagonist Tommy Monaghan during his battle with a vengeful demon. Etrigan was also present during the attack that would inadvertently bestow Monaghan with his superhuman abilities.

Recently Etrigan appeared in the Superman and Batman vs. Vampires and Werewolves storyline, aiding Batman and Superman.

In Tangent: Superman's Reign #3, the Etrigan of Earth-9 is revealed to be a human Necromancer, part of the Dark Circle group.

A sketch of an alternate version of Etrigan called "Superdemon" was featured in Final Crisis: Secret Files #1. Described as a denizen of Earth-17, Etrigan was sent to Earth by Merlin from the doomed Kamelot, where he entered the body of Jason Blood, son of a Kansas preacher. Over time, Jason learned to control the demon's powers, and now uses them to protect the world.

Jason Blood makes a guest appearance in Neil Gaiman's The Books of Magic.

In other media

Television

Etrigan as he appeared in The New Batman Adventures.
  • Jason Blood/Etrigan made a single guest appearance in the fourth-season episode "The Demon Within" of The New Batman Adventures, voiced by Billy Zane. There, Blood/Etrigan was revealed as a friend of Bruce Wayne, who won a magical brand in an auction on his behalf. The brand, however, was stolen by Klarion, who used it to split Blood and Etrigan apart and control the demon. Here he only rhymes when casting a spell, such as banishing Klarion once the brand's effects are reversed ("Mother's grief, Father's shame, soon he goes from whence he came"). When Robin asks what that means, Etrigan responds plainly "I'm sending him to his room". Klarion's "room" is really a crystal ball, which he has been imprisoned in ever since.
  • Blood's appearance on Cartoon Network's Justice League in 2002 was significant on several fronts. In addition to Michael T. Weiss voicing him, his look was redesigned by the production team so as to more closely resemble his original Kirby roots. In the two-part story "A Knight of Shadows," his origin was explained in detail: during the siege of Camelot, Blood was bound by Merlin to Etrigan as a punishment for betraying the kingdom to his secret lover, the sorceress Morgaine Le Fey (who doublecrossed him by poisoning him). While Blood, a nobleman, has been rendered immortal, he must share his soul with a demon for eternity — it is his 'curse,' the price of unforgivable lust.
  • Etrigan also appeared as one of the many members of the expanded Justice League in Justice League Unlimited. In the episode "Kid's Stuff", he is turned into a baby when all adults have been banished to another dimension by Le Fey's son, Mordred. When Green Lantern points out that he needs a diaper change, Batman says "that is a job for Superman". He is restored to normal by the end of the episode (his only line "Mommy" voiced possibly by an uncredited Kevin Conroy) and goes on to make several more small appearances throughout the series. In the episode "The Balance", he falls victim to Hades' fall from power where he changes form repeatedly before being trapped as half Demon and Half Human form.
  • Jason Blood/Etrigan appears in Batman: The Brave and the Bold voiced by Dee Bradley Baker. He is shown as a servant of Merlin until Morgaine le Fay took control of him and used him to take on Batman and Green Arrow. Etrigan accompanied Morgaine to the location and took care of Merlin while Batman went to claim Excalibur. Merlin was able to free him from Morgaine's control and helps to fight her. After Morgaine's defeat, Etrigan left to fulfill his own destiny. This is also the first animated version of Etrigan whose dialogue is entirely in rhyme. He reappears in "Trials of the Demon" in 19th century London, where he is framed for crimes done by Jim Craddock before he became Gentleman Ghost. Batman teams up with him to clear his name after he saves him from being burned at the stake, and stop Gentleman Ghost. After Batman's suit is wrecked during a fight with a possessed cape, Etrigan conjures a Victorian styled suit (à la Gotham By Gaslight) and they stop Astaroth in the afterlife, a demon Etrigan sealed back in Medieval times with Merlin. This version has a vulnerability to iron.

Video Games

Collectible Miniatures Games

  • In the DC HeroClix expansion set, Legacy, Etrigan the demon was available at four levels of collectability.

References

  1. ^ a b c Greenberger, Robert (2008), "The Demon", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, pp. 99, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5, OCLC 213309017 
  2. ^ The Demon at Don Markstein's Toonopedia
  3. ^ "Shadowpact" #11 (2007)
  4. ^ Birds of Prey #118
  5. ^ "The Batman Adventures: Issue Summaries". worldsfinestonline.com. http://www.worldsfinestonline.com/WF/batman/btas/guides/comic/tba/spec.php. Retrieved 2007-01-03. 
  6. ^ The World's Finest

External links








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